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Same-sex marriage in Portugal

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Same-sex marriage is legal in Portugal since June 5, 2010.[1][2] The government of Prime Minister José Sócrates had introduced a bill for legalization in December 2009; it was passed by the Assembly of the Republic in February 2010. The bill was declared legally valid by the Portuguese Constitutional Court in April 2010. On May 17, 2010, President Aníbal Cavaco Silva ratified the law and Portugal became the sixth country in Europe and the eighth country in the world to allow same-sex marriage nationwide.[3][4] The law was published in the official journal Diário da Republica on May 31, 2010 and became effective on June 5, 2010.[5][2]

Constitutional Court rulingEdit

On February 1, 2006, a lesbian couple applied for a marriage licence. Their application was refused, but the couple, Teresa Pires and Helena Paixão, promised to challenge the ban in court, saying that it discriminated against them on the basis of sexual orientation, where discrimination on the basis of gender is banned by the 1976 constitution.[6] In 2004 discrimination based on sexual orientation was made illegal. In May 2007 the court rejected the motion and they appealed to the Portuguese Constitutional Court. The Constitutional Court received the case in July 2007. Helena and Teresa's lawyer, Luís Grave Rodrigues, presented their allegations on October 19, 2007, including seven legal opinions (pareceres) from Portuguese professors of law arguing that the ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.[7][8]

On July 31, 2009, the Constitutional Court decided on a 3–2 vote that the constitution does not demand the recognition of same-sex marriage,[9][10] but also does not oppose it, and that the decision must be made by the legislature (that is, the Assembly of the Republic).

2005 electionsEdit

Same-sex marriage was the source of debate during the 2005 legislative elections, with the winning Socialist Party failing to make a clear statement in favour of same-sex marriage. Prime Minister José Sócrates had stated that introducing same-sex marriage legislation was not in his government's agenda, yet he had not ruled out the possibility that such legislation be introduced if his government was to receive a second consecutive mandate in future elections. The youth wing of his party, as well as the other two left-of-centre parties with parliamentary representation spoke strongly in favour of same-sex marriage, while the right remained extremely opposed to any such legislation.[Citation needed]

2008 same-sex marriage billEdit

Two bills to legalize same-sex marriage were presented to Parliament on October 10, 2008. The bills were introduced separately by the Left Bloc (BE) and Green Party (PEV). Both bills were rejected by parliament on opposition from the governing Socialist Party and the main opposition Social Democratic Party.[11][12]

2009 electionsEdit

Prime Minister José Sócrates stated on 18 January 2009 that, if re-elected in the September 2009 elections, he planned to introduce a bill to allow same-sex couples the right to marry. While the bill did not contemplate adoption, most LGBT organizations in Portugal support the measure as an important step towards equality.[13][14][15]

In March 2009, Jorge Lacão, the Secretary of State for the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, confirmed that the Socialist government intends to legalize same-sex marriage if re-elected in 2009.[16]

Manuela Ferreira Leite, the leader of the conservative Social Democratic Party, has expressed her disapproval on the recognition of same-sex marriage.[17]

In May 2009, a grassroots movement, The Movement for Equality in Access to Civil Marriage, was formed to campaign for the proposed same-sex marriage law. It has attracted the support of several Portuguese celebrities, including Nobel Prize winner José Saramago and Mayor of Lisbon António Costa.[18]

In October 2009, the newly re-elected José Sócrates made an assurance that the Socialist Party would move ahead with its campaign promise of same-sex marriage. The proposition received strong support from the Left Bloc, with its parliamentary leader presenting a proposed amendment to the Family Code which would make the definition of marriage gender-neutral.[19][20][21][22] In mid-October 2009 Jorge Lacão said is likely same-sex marriage will be legalized in early 2010.[23]

On November 3, 2009, José Ribeiro e Castro, member of the CDS-PP, called for a referendum.[24] Socialist Party and Left Bloc rejected that idea.[25][26][27][28] On November 4, Francisco Assis, the parliamentary leader of the Socialist Party, said same-sex marriage bill would be voted soon and confirmed that the bill would not allow same-sex couples to adopt children.[29][30]

On December 17, 2009, the Government approved the same-sex marriage bill.[31][32][33]

On January 8, 2010, after a debate, which included the intervention of the Prime Minister,[34][35] the Portuguese Parliament passed the bill establishing same-sex marriage in its first reading.[36][37] On 10 February, the Constitutional Affairs Committee of Parliament approved the bill.[38] The final parliamentary vote took place on 11 February, with the bill being approved.[39][40] On February 24, the Constitutional Affairs Committee sent the bill to the Portuguese President Aníbal Cavaco Silva.[41][42] On March 13, the President asked the Constitutional Court to verify whether the bill is constitutional.[43][44] On April 8, 2010, the Portuguese Constitutional Court ruled (11–2) that the bill is constitutional, with three members concluding that the Constitution requires the recognition of same-sex marriages.[45][46][47][48] The ruling was published in the official gazette on April 28, giving President Aníbal Cavaco Silva twenty days to sign or veto the bill.[49][50] On May 17, President Aníbal Cavaco Silva signed the bill.[51][52] The law was published in Diário da República on May 31, 2010 and became effective on June 5, 2010.[5][2] On June 7 Teresa Pires and Helena Paixão became the first same-sex couple to marry in Portugal.[53]


A number of groups have opposed legalizing same-sex marriage both during the process of discussion and after ratification.

The Roman Catholic Church in Portugal was opposed to the law, while Portugal's status as a Catholic country was also a reason for the media sensationalism to heighten controversy over the law.[54][55][56][57]

On January 8, 2010, the parliament rejected motion calling to the national referendum about same-sex marriage.[58] In February, 5,000 people demonstrated against legalization of same-sex marriage in a march in Lisbon.[59]

On May 13, 2010, during a visit to Portugal, Pope Benedict XVI affirmed his opposition to same-sex marriage, describing it as "insidious and dangerous".[60][61]

See alsoEdit


  1. Português:
    Lei Nº9/2010 de 31 de Maio - Permite o casamento civil entre pessoas do mesmo sexo
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2
    Segunda-feira já vai ser possível celebrar casamentos entre pessoas do mesmo sexo
  3. Hatton, Barry. "Portugal's president ratifies gay marriage law", Associated Press, Google News, May 17, 2010. Retrieved on May 17, 2010. Archived from the original on June 5, 2010. 
  4. Portugal's president to ratify same-sex marriage law
  5. 5.0 5.1
    Lei n.º 9/2010 de 31 de Maio Permite o casamento civil entre pessoas do mesmo sexo
  6. Portugal blocks lesbian marriage
  7. Português:
    Pareceres de personalidades sustentam alegações de recurso entregue no TConstitucional
  8. Português:
    "Quero-as casadas na Primavera"
  9. Portugal Gay Marriage Ban Upheld By Court
  10. Divided Portugal court upholds gay marriage ban
  11. Portugal Says No To Gay Mariiage
  12. Portugal's Parliament Votes Against Gay Marriage
  13. Leader of Portuguese Ruling Party Seeks to Create Homosexual "Marriage" in Portugal
  14. Portugal May Be Next in Line for Gay Marriage
  15. Português:
    Sócrates quer casamento gay e referendo à regionalização
  16. Português:
    Casamentos na próxima legislatura
  17. Português:
    Ferreira Leite admite discriminar casais 'gay'
  18. Same-sex marriage campaign launched in Portugal
  19. Português:
    BE disponível para aprovar a curto prazo casamento homossexual
  20. Português:
    Casamentos gay: BE já entregou diploma para legalização
  21. Português:
    BE avança hoje com casamento homossexual
  22. Portugal to legalize same-sex marriage
  23. Português:
    Portugal: Casamento gay já durante o próximo ano ?
  24. Português:
    Gay marriage: Casamentos homossexuais: Ribeiro e Castro quer referendo
  25. Português:
    Sócrates rejeita referendo sobre casamentos homossexuais
  26. Português:
    Casamentos entre homossexuais avançam
  27. Português:
    BE acha "descabido" referendo sobre casamentos homossexuais
  28. Português:
    Sócrates rejeita referendo sobre casamentos gay
  29. Português:
    PS recusa referendo e afasta adopção
  30. Português:
    PS impõe disciplina de voto no casamento homossexual
  31. Portuguese govt proposes measure to permit gay marriages, Parliament approval is expected
  32. Portugal tipped to allow gay marriage
  33. Portuguese govt aims to permit gay marriage
  34. Portugal's Prime Minister: Gay marriage fundamental to equality. (Croatia) (2010-01-08). Retrieved on 2010-01-08.
  35. Portuguese Government debates legalisation of gay marriage. Demotix (2010-01-08). Retrieved on 2010-01-08.
  36. Same-sex marriage law backed in Portugal's parliament. BBC (2010-01-08). Retrieved on 2010-01-08.
  37. Portugal MPs approve gay marriage. RTÉ News (2010-01-08). Retrieved on 2010-01-08.
  38. Português:
    Casamento homossexual: diploma aprovado sem alterações na especialidade
  39. Portuguese Lawmakers Approve Gay Marriage Bill
  40. Gay marriage approved by the Portuguese Parliament
  41. Portugal's Gay Marriage Bill Receives Final Approval
  42. Português:
    Casamento gay: redacção final do diploma aprovada
  43. Portugal Gay Marriage Bill Forwarded To Constitutional Court
  44. Português:
    Tribunal Constitucional vai fiscalizar casamento homossexual
  45. Português:
    Comunicado de 8 de Abril de 2010
  46. Português:
    ACÓRDÃO N.º 121/2010
  47. Portugal's Constitutional Court OKs Gay Marriage
  48. Portuguese High Court Approve Same-Sex Marriage Law
  49. 20 Days To Decide On Gay Marriage In Portugal
  50. Português:
    Acórdão que dá luz verde ao casamento gay publicado hoje em Diário da República
  51. Pope leaves, Portuguese President signs gay marriage pact
  52. Lawmakers In Portugal Legalize Gay Marriage
  53. Português:
    Teresa e Helena já estão casadas
  54. Portugal same-sex bill angers Catholic bishops
  55. Portuguese Bishops Call Gay 'Marriage' Law A Step Backward
  56. Catholic Portugal set to legalize gay marriage
  57. Same-sex marriages hot debate in deeply Catholic Portugal
  58. Português:
    Propõe a realização de um referendo sobre o casamento entre pessoas do mesmo sexo
  59. Thousands Protest Portugal's Upcoming Gay Marriage Law
  60. In Portugal, Pope Calls Gay Marriage An 'Insidious' Threat
  61. Pope says gay marriage is 'insidious and dangerous'

Template:Recognition of same-sex unions in Europe

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